Is Zayn the Beyoncé of One Direction?

    an investigative report

    by · March 26, 2015

    Photo by Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

    After five years of glamorous globetrotting and subsequently garnering a massive fan-girl audience, Zayn Malik has announced his decision to go in a new direction—a different direction from his four former bandmates.

    I’m skipping the five stages of grief (the denial that a member of a boy band could actually grow up; the anger that I can no longer watch five boys play homo-erotic jokes on each other; asking myself if I had been enough of a fan for him; then, of course, the imminent descent into depression, resulting in a five-pound weight gain and binge-watching original X Factor One Direction videos). Instead, I have decided to accept Zayn leaving. I’m moving right on to the juicy, hard hitting questions that really matter: A quantitative analysis of what it takes, after a band breaks up, to become the most successful and culturally relevant former band member. Or, in short, how one becomes Beyoncé.
    As an older and wiser adult, I have been through similar—dare I say, harder—times. For example, the heartbreaking, earth-shattering demise of Destiny’s Child, *NSYNC, The Spice Girls, and the Backstreet Boys. What events in the following years turned some members into stars while others fell into cultural irrelevance? Is it about skill, circumstance, or just plain old good luck? Ahead, I break down what it takes to be the Bey of your band, and who among the many hopefuls has succeeded.

    Photo by John Stanton/Getty Images

    1. Prove You Have A Better Voice Than Your Former Bandmates In Destiny’s Child, clearly it wasn’t LaTavia.* Michelle tried it with “Say Yes,” and Kelly almost did the damn thing with “Motivation,” but Beyoncé wins with an impressive Dream Girls performance.In short, *NSYNC ranked from best to worst: JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick. As far as the Backstreet Boys goes, because I’m writing the article and he was my childhood crush, Nick Carter wins every category. Mel C is without a doubt the best Spice Girls songstress, Posh coming in last but looking fabulous while doing so. And to our current-day obsession, one could argue Liam Payne and Harry Styles are the most musically talented with Zayn (RIP) a close third. Louis and Niall are, in reality, just glorified, extremely good-looking hype-men. Round One Winners: Beyonce, JC Chasez, Sporty Spice, Nick Carter & Liam Payne/Harry Styles.*LaTavia Roberson was the fourth original member of Destiny’s Child who first found out she was replaced when she saw the video for “Say My Name.” The shade, the shade of it all.

    Photo by Ron Galella/Getty Images

    2. Release An Instantly Iconic SingleGinger Spice broke my red-headed heart with her untimely departure from the group but this spawned her solo career with three number one singles from her first album. However, Beyoncé still wins with “Crazy in Love.” Justin Timberlake dominated the game with a song is still to this day my breakup song, “Cry Me a River.” Nothing of note seemed to come from the the Backstreet Boys, but again, Nick Carter wins. Waiting for Zayn’s move on this front. Round Two Winners: Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Ginger Spice, and Nick Carter.

    Photo by New York Daily News/Getty Images

    3. Become One Half Of A Power CoupleBey found Jay, fell crazy in love, and the rest is history. Justin and Britney were the biggest pop power couple of the early aughts, and after they broke up, the world became a much sadder place with significantly less denim. Nick seemed to live the not-so-simple life after approximately 10 months in Paris, a relationship with arguably the most famous celebrity of the aughts. In a shocking twist, Lance Bass came out and became an LGBTQ icon, and his cultural relevance was thus renewed in 2006. Posh, Posh, POSH! How do we even fathom what it must be like to wake up next to a Mr. Beckham every morning? This celebrity pairing might have been her ticket to a continued cultural relevance and entrance into the fashion market (does anyone remember their matching leather Versace outfits?). Harry Styles seems to have built some notoriety as a serial dater with some of the biggest names in fashion and music: Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevigne, and Taylor Swift. Question: if Taylor Swift didn’t write a song about your relationship, did it actually happen? Round Three Winners: Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Posh Spice, Nick Carter/Lance Bass, and Harry Styles.

    Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images

    So, if history has taught us anything, it is that every group only has room for one breakout star—from Posh, to Bey, to Justin—and in the case of One Direction, Harry seems to be making all the right moves (according to this ranking system). Unless, of course, they go the Backstreet Boys route, in which case, Goddess help us all. In conclusion, unless Zayn hires Christina Aguilera’s voice coach, or works with Sia on a single, or dates Miley Cryus and incessantly Instagrams it, I look forward to his future as a Dancing With the Stars contestant.
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    Last updated: 2015-04-14T14:20:47-04:00
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